News & Current Affairs

September 17, 2008

Norway joins fight to save Amazon

Norway joins fight to save Amazon

Carlito, a cattle rancher

Cattle ranching is blamed for up to 70% of current Amazon deforestation

Norway has pledged $1bn (£500m) to a new international fund to help Brazil protect the Amazon rainforest.

The donation is the first to the fund which Brazil hopes will raise $21bn to protect Amazon nature reserves.

Norway’s prime minister said the project was important in the fight to reduce global warming.

Brazil is one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, with three-quarters of its total coming from the burning of trees in the Amazon.

The money will be released over seven years to promote alternatives to forest-clearing for people living in the Amazon, and support conservation and sustainable development.

The Amazon rainforest
Amazon map
Largest continuous tropical forest
Shared by nine countries
65% Brazilian territory
Covers 6.6m sq km in total
Pop: 30m – 23.5m are in Brazil

Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg said: “Efforts against deforestation may give us the largest, quickest and cheapest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Brazilian efforts against deforestation are therefore of vital importance if we shall succeed in our campaign against global warming,” he added.

The Brazilian government wants to raise $21bn through foreign donors by 2021, although President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has insisted that the Amazon’s preservation is Brazil’s responsibility.

He welcomed Norway’s pledge, saying: “The day that every developed country has the same attitude as Norway, we’ll certainly begin to trust that global warming can be diminished.”

Japan, Sweden, Germany, South Korea and Switzerland are said to be considering donating to the fund, which was launched last month.

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August 25, 2008

Diary: Sierra Leone slum clinic

Diary: Sierra Leone slum clinic

Courtesy BBC

Fatmata with her one-year-old twins Kadija and Fatima who are on the Kroo Bay clinic malnutrition programme

Staff at a clinic in the coastal slum of Kroo Bay, in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, are keeping a diary of their working lives for the BBC News website.

Here, Adama Gondor, who runs the clinic, talks about the challenges of its malnutrition programme and renovation works on the clinic building.

Every Friday we distribute a corn-soya blend with oil and sugar mixed in for making porridge.

Every Wednesday we distribute plumpy nut – a peanut-based paste with all the nutrients a malnourished child needs, which comes from the World Food Programme.

We started more than three months ago and have now started to discharge our first patients.

First we had 60 in the programme, now we have 102. When we discharge we admit new ones.

[Parents] beg me not to discharge their children, they need the food for survival

We’re often low on food. I think we didn’t expect to find so many malnourished children.

It is because everything is expensive now. People cannot afford to buy food and the nutritional status of people has dropped.

If a mother who is breast-feeding is not eating properly, how can she have a healthy baby?

The plumpy nut is for severely malnourished children and at the moment we have 17 children who fall into that category.

Every day now, food prices is all people talk about.

It is poverty and rising food prices that are making people suffer here in Kroo Bay.

View of Kroo Bay

We are seeing many more cases of malnutrition – even though the children we treat are gaining weight from the food we give them.

We only discharge them when they are 85% of their ideal weight for three consecutive weeks.

It is difficult to discharge the children because the parents often get upset, they want the food which is a real supplement to what they can afford, they have come to rely on it.

They beg me not to discharge their children, they need the food for survival.

I try and explain that their children are no longer dangerously malnourished and other children need the food, and they leave sad and sluggishly.

It is so hard to discharge them, children here are vulnerable, they need good food.

Rebuilding

About a month ago, reconstruction work in the clinic started. It is very exciting.

We are really happy knowing that in four or five months we will have a new, extended clinic.

Reconstruction work at the Kroo Bay clinic.

The clinic is being extended and fixed

Now we are getting three wards and an under-fives area. In the wards we’ll be able to admit patients for up to 72 hours.

The construction workers have just completed the foundations. On top of the new wards they’ll put an extra floor which will be my staff quarters, meaning I can always be on call for serious cases.

So far all the work is in the hall and although it is loud and dusty, it is not bothering us because we really want the clinic to change and be clean and hygienic.

The work is being done by Save the Children in collaboration with Concern, and I want to say thank you to all the people who have donated.

We really appreciate them sharing their earnings. We sincerely hope they’ll continue helping us – once the clinic is finished we’ll need drugs and equipment.

The Kroo Bay clinic staff

The Kroo Bay clinic staff are keeping a joint diary

Save the Children is running an interactive website where Kroo Bay residents answer questions about their lives. Visitors will be able to access 360-degree images of the site, and catch up with the latest news from the slum through regular “webisodes”.

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